I met Kevin for the first time in Los Angeles on Gold Motel’s first tour of the West Coast. At the time, I was introduced to Kevin as a musician, not a photographer. Gold Motel was playing shows around California with Michael Runion, and Kevin was playing lead guitar in Michael’s band. A friend of mutual friends, Kevin also let members of Gold Motel crash at his place in L.A as we routed ourselves around Southern California. I was impressed with not only Kevin’s geniality and passion for music, but also the photos I saw in his apartment.
After we left California, I learned that Kevin ran a popular photography-based blog, The Dirtiest Little Rainbow. After browsing through it, I was immediately struck by Kevin’s signature authorship and consistent sense of tone. His photography is distinctly original, and his unique voice a common thread in the fabric of his work. Each photo contains an ambiguous sense of candid allure; an explicit take on the old phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” My initial reaction to Kevin’s photography was a John Fowles quote that appeared in his novel, The Collector:
“I just think of things as beautiful or not. Can’t you understand? I don’t think of good or bad. Just of beautiful or ugly. I think a lot of nice things are ugly and a lot of nasty things are beautiful” (Fowles).
Many of Kevin’s photos challenges societies pre-conceived notions of beauty and refinement. Much of his work appears grotesquely coarse on first glance, but there is a primitive beauty in it’s unabashed honesty and sincerity. The often tenacious topic matter of his photos are secondary to their organic veracity and directness. Through Kevin’s camera lens, we are beckoned to reconsider our own standards of beauty. His photography is challenging in it’s aesthetic bluntness. In Kevin’s recent interview with Fecal Face, he spent time examining his own work and the inspiration behind it:
“I’m not really a porn guy. I don’t know any of the big porn stars or anything. I’m down with that homemade shit, so a lot of the photos I was buying were taken with a disposable camera or polaroids where the girl didn’t want to show her face, and it seemed like they just told stories which intrigued me, or at least i would drape little stories like ornaments on photo I really just liked looking at. Like, maybe this woman always wanted to pose naked, but if anyone ever saw them her life would be over or maybe these photos were of some dudes mistress or this girl’s just a hooker. So I found myself staring at these photos for more then just tits, and I also loved that fact that everyone was so normal. Some girls were big, some had little boobies, some had no ass, some were super skinny, some were moms and – being a normal guy – I’m alway curious on what women look like naked, and most woman aren’t porn stars. So I started taking photos again [...] I never ask people to pose. i just ask them questions about their lives and after someone’s been naked for an hour, talking about their job or their boyfriend(s) or the fact that they’re insecure about their body and posing nude empowers them – I think magic happens [...] I also think I found some couples who feel comfortable with me shooting them having sex, but still for whatever reason if you’re shooting photos that are deficient in taste, but with an old Rolleiflex with black and white film it magically suggests “art work”. So i’ve been searching for the perfect blend of making my mom proud and disgusted, but being 1000% Kevin Hayes” – (Hayes, FecalFace.com).
In the past few months, I have coincidentally ran across many of Kevin’s photos on numerous blogs and websites. Most recently, I found a few of Kevin’s photos on Everything You Love To Hate as well as Fecal Face. I’m glad to see that his work is being recognized and celebrated, and I hope to see his name and photos in print more often in the future.
You can check out Kevin’s full interview with Fecal Face by clicking HERE
You can check out Kevin’s blog, The Dirtiest Little Rainbow, by clicking HERE